Kuhn boost for bat­tling Ti­tans

MAKWETU HANDED HIS FIRST START

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT -

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Ti­tans will con­tinue to try and fill holes in their strug­gling out­fit as Heino Kuhn re­turns and Wandile Makwetu is set to make his de­but in their Four-Day Do­mes­tic Se­ries match against the Highveld Li­ons at Wil­low­moore Park in Benoni, start­ing to­day.

The Ti­tans are lan­guish­ing in fifth, nearly 50 points off the pace fol­low­ing their 216-run ham­mer­ing at the hands of the War­riors in East Lon­don last week, and now they are also with­out cap­tain and wick­et­keeper/bats­man Hein­rich Klaasen, who has been called up to the Proteas’ ODI squad.

Makwetu, an SA U19 star who turned 20 last week, will take over the gloves while Kuhn, the 34-year-old vet­eran who has not yet played for the Ti­tans this sea­son, will open the bat­ting in place of Tony de Zorzi.

The Ti­tans have also made two changes to their bowl­ing at­tack, with Chris Mor­ris fit again and re­plac­ing El­dred Hawken, while Itume­leng Moseki has been pre­ferred to Al­fred Mothoa.

The Li­ons were ruth­less in beat­ing the Dol­phins by nine wick­ets last week, but they know any­thing less than vic­tory will kill off their chances of catch­ing the Cape Co­bras at the top.

They will be with­out Rassie van der Dussen, who has been their best bats­man this sea­son with 496 runs at 55.11, Dwaine Pre­to­rius and Reeza Hendricks, who have all been se­lected for the Proteas. Wi­han Lubbe, Ryan Rick­el­ton and Do­minic Hendricks are their re­place­ments.

The Ti­tans owe their coach Mark Boucher a much-im­proved show­ing – “We can look for ex­cuses as much as we want, but quite sim­ply, we haven’t played good cricket in all de­part­ments. It’s been frus­trat­ing and we’ll have to go back to the draw­ing board and see how we can im­prove,” he said.

When the two Gaut­eng ri­vals met in Potchef­stroom at the end of Oc­to­ber, it was a high-scor­ing af­fair, with the Ti­tans un­der some pres­sure be­fore Shaun von Berg’s 81 not out took them to safety.

Bot­tom team Dol­phins were par­tic­u­larly poor last week­end against the Li­ons, but coach Grant Mor­gan will con­tinue to back his younger play­ers as they host the Knights in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg.

The Co­bras, firmly planted at the top, en­ter­tain the War­riors at New­lands, and coach Ash­well Prince, who has care­fully cul­ti­vated a win­ning side in Cape Town, says they will stick with their same me­thod­i­cal ap­proach.

“The 19.4-point lead we have can be turned around pretty quickly if things don’t go the right way, so it’s one game at a time,” Prince said.

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